Saturday, 3/22/08 Day 49
Today was boring and frustrating. I ended up doing school almost all day because of some math that took at least 2 hours. I was having trouble, and Mom had to switch between helping Dad and helping me.
She was helping Dad with the wind generator. The wind generator broke for the second time in the Dry Tortugas. The company who sells the mini-windmills sent us a new one, which Daddy installed today. Now there is a problem with the new one and the company must send us a new part. Mom and Dad worked for hours, mostly ending up tired and unsuccessful.
There is not much else to tell about today. Bro and I played together when we weren't helping our parents or doing schoolwork (a.k.a. not much of the day). Dad leaves Key West tomorrow to fly to Houston for a meeting. It is late and I am tired.
Sunday, 3/23/08 Day 50
Today is Easter Sunday! We worshipped at Grace Lutheran Church. We walked all the way to church and were almost late. We got there right on time, and gladly sang and prayed with the rest of the congregation. I am glad that we got to go to Easter service because we have not had much of a chance to go to church or worship on board Liberty in a long time.
Daddy had to leave right after communion because he needed to catch an airplane. He is traveling for work for the first time on this trip. He must go to a meeting in Houston. He will be gone until Thursday.
A member of the church gave us a ride back to the marina office. We gathered our shower stuff that we had left there earlier and headed for the dinghy. At the dinghy, we exchanged our shower stuff for laundry. We had 2 ½ weeks worth, plus extra. During our long offshore passage (see 3/10/08 - 3/14/08), my bed and all the sheets and pillows on them, plus all of Mom's clothes, got wet because of leaks. That added at least 3 extra loads. In the end, we had 18 loads, maybe 20. Mom put the loads in the washers just perfectly so that they were staggered. That allowed us to be dealing with no more than two machines' worth at a time. The downside of that way of doing laundry is that we spent 3 hours continuously doing laundry. Brother couldn't help with all of the folding, so he read his book for a while.
We met the very nice owner of M & M Laundromat and he helped us with one of our problems. The super big washing machine, which we really needed, was full, but finished washing the rugs inside. He told us that his policy stated that since the laundry was finished, yet unattended, we could remove it. He actually took it all out and we hauled it off to a corner where somebody later came and took it. I am glad that we did laundry today because I was out of underwear and almost out of shorts. It is in the 80's here and all we wear is shorts and t-shirts.
We had the cell phone number of the nice taxi driver who drove Dad to the airport and we called him to drive us and our ton of laundry to the M & M Laundromat and back to the dinghy dock.
We managed to get back to the boat and everything on board without anybody or anything falling in the water and/or getting ruined. It was 5:30 by the time we got back to the boat. We made dinner and settled into a nice, quiet, half-early evening/bedtime. Today was good.
Monday, 3/24/08 Day 51
Today was only okay. The morning was a bit crazy, but the afternoon was better. After a half-late breakfast, we got ready for the day and headed to shore. The weather was getting bad and will be bad because of a Norther until Thursday morning.
We had planned to do some major grocery shopping today, more than on 3/21/08, after taking care of a package at the marina office. While at the office, ¼ mile away from the dinghy dock, we got a call from the engine mechanics. They said that they wanted to come today, immediately. We rushed back to the dinghy dock to where they were waiting. They were not happy from the beginning. They got wet coming to the boat and griped and said how they didn't work on sailboats and didn't ride in dinghies and said that Mom was going too fast and they were getting wet, so she should slow down. Mom and I tried to explain that slowing down would get them more wet, but they wouldn't listen.
Back at the boat, they quickly adjusted a few things and made the engine work. All the while they were not saying nice things about Dad and whoever helped him with a few things and how they made some of the mistakes they did. They told us how easily they fixed the engine and that the alternator shouldn't be how it is, but that the two of them wouldn't do any more work while the boat was on the mooring ball and that it would have to be done at a dock. I heard one of them say that their clothes were drying, only to go and get wet again. They grumbled about every little drop of water on them on the way back, which was a dry ride because the wind was coming from behind us, not in front of us. Mom says that even though they were not easy to deal with they did know what they were doing.
Since we were already on shore after we dropped off and paid the mechanics, Mom decided that we should go to lunch and go grocery shopping. We walked the mile or so to Albertson's grocery store and went to a pizza place, called Big John' s Pizza, in the same strip center. It was super good New York style pizza. They make a pizza called the Godfather pizza which is cheese pizza with slices of mozzarella cheese and uncooked tomato slices seasoned with an Italian herb seasoning. It was awesome.
At Albertson's, Mom, Josh and I spent a while going up and down the aisles collecting groceries. We filled the cart up. We called Mr. Flip, the taxi cab driver, and he picked us up. We are going to stay on the boat tomorrow and Wednesday because of bad weather and Mr. Flip is off on Thursday and Friday, so we probably won't see him again. We got back to the boat kind of late. We were too tired to put the groceries or the laundry away. So Mom just put away the cold stuff and will do the rest tomorrow.
I noticed that my Swiss Army Knife got wet when the boat leaked and got salt screwdrivers, a drill, a corkscrew, a fish scaler, a ruler, a fishhook remover, a magnifying glass, and a nail file) won't open. This was my Dad's when he was my age. I told him I'd take good care of it, but I think it's ruined. I can't believe it!!
We made some Fettuccini Alfredo with salad for supper. It tasted good. The only problem is that we were out of nutmeg and had to substitute allspice for nutmeg. It tasted good anyway. Today was okay, but life is pretty good.
Tuesday, 3/25/08 Day 52
The wind raged for most of the day, except in the evening when the wind died to 10-20kts. We did not leave the boat today, but instead did school, did some minor projects on board, and cleaned up.
Our meals were super good today. For breakfast we ate bagels and drank hot tea. I had a cinnamon raisin bagel dressed with butter and a thick coat of cream cheese. I have not had bagels in a while and this was a treat. I have had better bagels than these, but it was great after so long. We purchased six of them, leaving three for tomorrow or Thursday morning. I don't know when we'll get bagels next, so I will savor every bite.
Lunch was made up of deli sandwiches, kiwi fruit and laughs. Mom bought some of her favorite ham called capicola. It is spicy and tastes like a mixture of ham, salami, and pastrami. I like it. Unfortunately, Mother did not buy enough of it, and we had to have a mix of capicola and regular ham on our sandwiches. Josh provided the laughs as he read Mommy and I Garfield comics. I laugh at almost all of them.
The dinner for ¾ of Liberty's crew (that's Mom, Josh and me) consisted of sautéed Italian sausage, boiled and salted red potatoes, and sautéed onions, orange bell peppers and mushrooms. Brother and I rated them and here are the 1-10 ratings:
sausage potatoes veggies overall rating
Josh 10 10 5 8.5
Chris 8 8.5 6 7.5
My favorite part, as the ratings clearly show, was the potatoes. They got mushy and had a succulent, melt-in-your-mouth flavor that, all in all, was fairly simple. All you tasted was red potato, salt and butter. It was awesome.
A phone call with Dad this evening bore the news that my knife probably isn't ruined after all. He says we should soak it in hot water to dissolve the salt before oiling the knives' little hinges well. I am so glad to know that the knife isn't a goner.
I read a whole book today, just in one morning before school. The book was called The Rifle by Gary Paulsen. He is a good writer. His books take up a noticeable percentage of my collection. I have read 37 books on this trip. At this rate, I'll have read approx. 288 books by the end of our trip. I am proud of myself at how much I am reading. I love to read.
Barely anything else happened today. We got a package from my Uncle Dave, Mom's brother. He sent us some DVD's of movies he has gotten for us. We will pick up the box on Thursday when the waves calm down. Life's good for me!
Wednesday, 3/26/08 Day 53
We did school almost all day today. I am behind in a few subjects. I have been working extra hard to catch up and I am doing well. I am studying American History this year and I am coincidentally missing Texas History in school. Mom thinks that studying Texas History for a whole year is ridiculous and I have coincidentally missed 2 of 3 years of that subject (4th grade, our last trip, 7th grade, this trip now, and I think 10th grade, which I may or may not miss). Mom isn't opposed to learning Texas History, she just thinks a whole year or it, 3 times, is not necessary.
The only other notable thing I did today was make clay things. Josh got a cool clay kit for Christmas and we have fun making stuff with it. We decided to make mini-food for our GI Joes. I made a chicken drumstick, a blueberry pie, 3 slices of bacon, 2 bottles of soda (or beer is you want to call them that), and 3 sets of plates and bowls. I also made a piece of barbed wire. It got burned and a bit deformed when Mom baked it, so I just say that it has been through a lot - flame thrower attacks, artillery bombardments, plus, all the usual dirt that coats stuff. I had fun.
I found out how to make really neat beads in the How-to book. I might try some of those soon. Today was okay.
Thursday, 3/27/08 Day 54
The day's excitement started after lunch. Before lunch we just did school, but afterward, we got off the boat for the first time in 2 ½ days. I was glad to get off the boat. I had a huge stock pile of energy which I needed to get out. I have gotten in trouble a couple of times lately for being wild.
On shore we stopped by the marina office and took showers before going to the Pirate Soul Museum via the waterfront. Walking along the docks, we saw tarpon twice. Those fish are big. They get fed by the fishermen just like the Goliath Grouper in the Dry Tortugas.
We stopped into an ice cream shop to get a snack and some water because it was hot outside. I got Blackberry Raspberry sorbet. It tasted good and refreshing.
We continued to the Pirate Soul Museum and reached our destination at 4:30pm. Inside the museum, we learned all about different pirates, real and fake, and pirate myths. We walked through a mock up of Port Royal, Jamaica that was a big pirate town. We saw all the shops that catered to the pirates and their wares. We saw pirate artifacts, such as cannons, cutlasses, and treasure, etc. We learned about everything linked to pirates.
They had some things, though, that I literally didn't believe. I do not think it is true that they have, on display, one of the only two pirate flags in the world and the only pirate treasure chest in the world. They have a few other literally unbelievable things such as journals and logs of pirates and their vessels, and pirate treasure maps.
Beside the things I don't think are true, the museum was interesting. I read things I already knew and could explain them to Mom and Josh, and I also read things that I had never heard before that fascinated me, for I like to learn about this kind of stuff.
We bought a book about pirates in the gift shop and headed to greet and go out to dinner with Dad. We met him and decided to go to a Thai restaurant called Thai Island. They had super good food. Dad likes Thai food a lot and ordered us some good dishes to share. We ate Spring Rolls, a coconut milk soup with chicken called Tom Kha Gai; a nut, pork and vegetable stir fry; a noodle, shrimp, chicken and peanut dish called Pad Thai; and a dish of Red Curry with chicken. It was all awesome. We got home from this awesome day late, and I'm going to sleep as soon as I am done. Now.
Friday, 3/28/08 Day 55
I have barely anything to write about today. I did school for a bit more than half the day and then played with Josh for the rest of the day. After dinner, we threw some leftovers overboard and little fish came and ate it all. We asked Mom and Dad if we could fish for them, but they said not tonight, maybe tomorrow. We'll use leftovers as bait. It'll be fun.
Saturday, 3/29/08 Day 56
Today was fun! I worked with Mom all morning on the website. We finished the journal entries, leaving only a few things for tomorrow. The website building program was having some trouble and kicked us off 3 times, deleting some of our work. We found an internet café the other day that has free wi-fi if you purchase something to eat that we might go to tomorrow to upload the website onto the internet. I hope it works.
We have noticed a large group of fish that congregate under our boat and in the sea grass on the bottom. We have also noticed that the fish swarm up and feed on leftover food that we dump overboard. So after lunch today, Josh and I fished off the boat using leftovers as bait. I caught around 10 pinfish and Josh caught only 1. They were small and we threw them all back. Even though the pinfish will eat anything, we like to say that some bait was better than others. I caught the most fish on onion, shrimp and no bait (just a hook). It was really fun.
Then we headed to shore. We spent like an hour or more shopping. We went to Walgreen's, Home Depot, and Ross: Dress for Less. In Home Depot, Dad bought some new herbs for us to try to grow on board Liberty. After shopping, we slowly made our way all the way around the island of Key West to the famous Mallory Square. Street performers and street vendors lease this land from the city. It is one of the only legal places to do street performing in the U.S.A. The performers are fun to watch as they eat fire, juggle, walk mini-tight ropes, etc.
We watched 3 shows. The first show was a man who ate fire. He was my favorite. He lit a torch and stuck it in his mouth. He took the torch out of his mouth, but he was still holding the little, flickering flame on his lips. The second time he did that, he blew a small fireball. After a few more fire-eating tricks, he did his Grand Finale where he drank some sort of alcohol, put two flaming torches in his mouth, and blew a huge fireball. It went a couple feet about his head! It was awesome!
The fire-eater pointed us to another performer to watch. This man was a 50 year old calypso tumbler. He did lots of cool gymnastic tricks. One of his tricks was having a helper (a tourist named Joe from Canada) lay on the ground with his legs apart while the performer did a back flip 6 inches from Joe's crouch. It was cool. I accidentally missed this guy's Grand Finale, but that's okay. Mom took a picture of the performer jumping through a hoop that Joe was holding over another helper who was sitting on a bicycle with her head down over the handlebars.
We watched the end of a 3rd performer's show. He started riding a unicycle and had a kid throw 3 non-lit torches to him. He then lit the torches and said he would put one of the lit torches in his mouth like some of the other performers do. He put the handle in his mouth! That was funny. For this man's Grand Finale, he took the 3 lit torches and rode around in a big circle on his unicycle while juggling the torches. He must have practiced a lot to do that. It was cool to watch.
After the last show, we went to do what many people were lining the edge of the square for - watching the sunset. Last time we were in Key West, we saw a green flash. Tonight we watched a reddish-orange sun set behind a bank of clouds behind an island. It was still kind of pretty.
Josh had been begging and begging and begging to go to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. He has wanted to go ever since we got to Key West. We finally went tonight. It was nice. They were playing Jimmy Buffett's Feeding Frenzy Live! album. We have that one and listen to it all the time. Of all the albums that Jimmy Buffett has, they play on we can listen to all the time! I couldn't decide what to order, so Mom suggested the chargrilled Mahi Mahi. I had that with black beans, rice, and a side Caesar salad. It was awesome, just as the rest of the day was!!
Sunday, 3/30/08 Day 57
Today was as awesome as yesterday for one soul reason: we finished the website and successfully loaded it onto the internet!! It took all day, but that really didn't matter to me. This event made my day.
We went to Grace Lutheran Church for the 3rd time. The people there are all very nice and the same people who gave us a ride last Sunday gave us a ride today as well. Thought I went to take communion as I did back home at Faith Lutheran Church, and I held out my hands, I got neither a communion wafer nor wine. They skipped me like that last week as well, but it's okay. I like this church.
The people from Grace Lutheran Church dropped us at the coffee shop/internet café we knew of so that we could check e-mails and upload the website. While Dad did work and Mom checked e-mails and did non-website related stuff, Josh played chess and checkers with me. I beat him all four times (one game of chess and three games of checkers). Then, Mom and I worked on the website. When we uploaded it the first time, an error occurred. The second time, after acquiring help from Coffee Cup (the company which provides our website building software), we found that our website had uploaded, once again, in computer code. After that, I pretty much gave up. I was so annoyed with the website and website people who, all in all, didn't help us. But Mom persevered and went on to get help from Go Daddy, the company who host our website. They helped Mom figure our and fix the problem, putting our website online for the world to view. I wonder how many people have been on it already.
We were at the internet café all day and got back to the boat around 6:00. I was allowed to pinfishing (pinfish fishing). Josh didn't catch any, but I caught six. That's too bad for him. They started to get annoying after they stole my bait over and over again. I finally started catching fish after fish after fish. It was fun. All of today was a bit fun.
Monday, 3/31/08 Day 58
We didn't do much today. We did school for a good portion of the day. The wind blew hard from the East all day. The waves were rough.
A highlight of the day was the two meals. We had brunch (between breakfast and lunch) and linner (between lunch and dinner). For brunch, Daddy made cheese blintzes in a peach sauce. They tasted good; the light and fluffy crepes surrounding moist and flavorful cottage cheese created a flavor that you would not want to miss.
Linner consisted of fresh-out-of-the oven pizza and homemade caponata. Both were very yummy. After linner, I asked if I could use some caponata as bait to go pinfishing. Dad immediately jumped up, saying that he had worked hard to make it and that only a small jar of it would be expensive in a store and that he didn't think it deserved to be fed to the fish. I laughed at that and at Josh who then asked if he could have only a small spoonful to chum with to get the fish active. Dad rejected the idea, just as I thought he would. Both meals were good and the rest of the day was okay.